T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a… well, that’s not quite correct.
There was some stirring in the Clause house as Santa slowly shifted positions in his easy chair, looking out the window into the howling snow storm outside. The weather forecast said the storm would be blowing over soon and, and truth be told, it wasn’t that bad of a snowstorm. Certainly not like the famous storm eleven years ago.
But the weather had been poor the past month, and certainly not conducive for the last minute production crunch leading up to Christmas. Mentally preparing himself for the insanity the next 24 hours would bring, Santa mulled over the past year.
He should have been notified about production delays by now, but strangely, nothing had crossed his plate. Not even the unsavory incident he had overheard about in early November, when an elf drank a little too much eggnog and broke machinery, leading to a production delay. Even in the best years there are delays and problems. Right?
“Honey,” Santa Clause said softly, getting Mrs. Clause’s attention from the book she was reading. He noticed that it wasn’t her usual novel type book, but rather looked more like a technical manual. Without his glasses on, Santa didn’t try to strain his eyes to make out the title; he’d ask her later about it.
“Why haven’t I been told about the production delays? Tonight is, after all Christmas Eve and with all this poor weather we’ve been having, I’m sure we’ve run into delays. Yet nobody has said anything to me about it!”
“Well,” Mrs. Clause responded, “You haven’t been told anything because there’s been nothing to report. You know the old saying, no news is good news!”
With a puzzled look in his eyes, Santa sat upright in his chair and turned his focus on Mrs. Clause.
“But how can that be?” exclaimed Santa. “Remember the great present shortage of two years ago? That was a disaster! I had to “borrow” some toys from the local toy stores,” Santa gestured air quotes around borrow.
“Well,” Mrs. Clause responded “After that Christmas, I met with Alabaster Snowball and the other department head elves to discuss how we could better prepare for future problems that we may run into. We brought in a supply chain expert who suggested using a specialized supply chain software rather than just the worksheets we had cobbled together.”
“Go on,” Santa said, shifting forward in his chair with keen attentiveness.
“We moved forward, bringing in an evaluation team,” Mrs. Clause explained, pausing to snicker as she recalled the events. “The team knew we would be their biggest implementation ever, by a long shot, but they really hadn’t expected us to have a Bill of Material for every toy made that year! One even fainted in disbelief! Poor fellow. Fortunately, Pepper was nearby with some of her famous eggnog.”
“Oh yes!” Santa said, his eyes growing wide. “Her eggnog would be world famous, if she hadn’t signed my NDA, ho ho!”
“Once the consulting team overcame shock, we were able to quickly and efficiently get the software implemented last year, with go-live in January, perfect for starting this year. We were able to use the software to account for every scenario we may encounter, like poor weather! On top of it all, we were able to work around that nogg-induced production shut-down we had last month.”
“Hmmmm….” Santa pondered, stroking his long white beard hair, recalling that stoppage. “I remember the sense of urgency, but nobody panicked! I never heard much of it since, so I just sort of, let it go!”
“And thanks to our excellent software, we were able to accommodate that outage, so we really didn’t lose much production at all.”
Santa, now standing and stretching, became even more curious.
“And what of the weather these past couple of months?”
Chuckling to herself, Mrs. Clause responded, “Do you want me to go into the advanced analytics behind our what if’s?”
“Ho, Ho, Ho,” Santa laughed, “I knew there was a reason I married you! I shall leave that to people smarter than me. After all, I’m just the guy that travels at light speed!”
Santa walked over to Mrs. Clause, bent down to kiss her cheek, and captured a glance at the title of the book she was reading — Strategic Supply Chain Essentials and Master Management Planning!?!
“Well, that explains the book,” Santa said “But tell me, since when did you become a supply chain expert?”
To which Mrs. Clause said with a wink, “You don’t think I sit around all year just baking your cookies? Somebody has to get some real work done around here!”
With another jolly laugh, Santa headed towards the coat rack and silently mumbled under his breath, ‘advanced this-and-that’.
“I heard you,” Mrs. Clause said. “And don’t think I haven’t met with the master supply chain planner to account for ALL possibilities… including any and every *cough* unfortunate happenings.”
This caused Santa Clause to stop dead in his tracks. He looked at his wife with a hint of concern.
“Don’t worry Dear Santa,” Mrs. Clause re-assured him, “I learned how to fly that fancy sleigh just this summer. And with a little tailoring, your jacket will fit me just fine!”
“I don’t know if I should be worried, or if I should be surprised!” remarked Santa. “But then again, that’s why I married you! You are amazing, always thinking ahead!”
And with that, Santa flung open the front door while bellowing out, “Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas to all!” And walked through the door.
In the comfort of knowing his wife and elves had a mastery over the entire North Pole Supply Chain, Santa would never need to worry again. Now he could focus on his expertise, delivering presents to children in peace.
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a Happy Supply Chain New Year!”